Pinakurat: Vinegar that surprises

Originally written by: Rex Godinez Ortega

Posted on: March 22, 2013

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ILIGAN CITY — How a homegrown food processing family business is taking the whole country and soon, the rest of the world by surprise is a story that parallels a local businessman’s gut-feel of what people needed at the right time.

Pinakurat is the now famous brand of vinegar made in Iligan City. And there seems no stopping its growing fame because it has not only become the must-have pasalubong from visitors of this city of waterfalls, but it is the most in demand padala to Filipinos abroad.

“We dispense of it here with a teaspoon,” says Dr. Roberto F. Godinez, a Filipino turned US citizen working in San Francisco, California. “That’s how precious it is here.”

Given how gastronomically nostalgic Godinez gets, he cannot help but ask how he can get more of the sukang Pinakurat. So do thousands of other Filipinos living abroad who have heard of it. The lucky few who had managed to get a taste of it when they vacationed home bought boxes of sukang Pinakurat to bring as pasalubong but they had the misfortune of having their precious cargo severely cut down to size by airport authorities.

Clearly, the demand for Pinakurat is there that its maker, Green Gold Gourmet, is swamped with orders. People cannot seem to do without it on their dining tables.

Sukang Pinakurat is that spicy vinegar made from fermented coconut nectar and spices grown in the farmlands of Iligan City and Lanao del Norte. Its mercuric rise to the top of the condiment and dip business owes primarily to the fact that it takes over one’s taste buds and gives the pulutan or any food that needed zzzing!

Sukang Pinakurat was born out of desperation eight years ago when life dealt former Iligan restaurateur, Rene Jose Stuart del Rosario, 54, a double whammy—his restaurant business closed and his health failed.

The decline of Stuart del Rosario’s health is attributed by some to his indulgence of a famous local dish called pinakurat, which is made of chopped baboy sulop (wild boar meat) soused in vinegar and spices. Penniless and sick, he went to Manila to get a heart by-pass operation as an indigent patient.

After a successful operation, Stuart del Rosario returned home with what was left of the already meager funds donated to him by concerned relatives and friends. With wife Donna, 51, and four sons to support, Stuart del Rosario was at the lowest point of his life.